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Mike Shatzel has big plans for Allen Street

Big happenings are underway in Allentown. Bar owner and restaurateur Mike Shatzel has made a purchase of properties that will forever change the face of Allentown. After years of trying to land the perfect building on Allen Street, Mike has not only picked up an existing restaurant (that will drastically change), he has also opened up the doors to additional buildings that will keep him busy for years to come.

First off, Mike has purchased the Quaker Bonnet Eatery and plans on turning the building into a unique burger destination. “I want to maintain the Allen feel of things – with a special grind from a local meat purveyor,” Mike told me. “I’ve been researching burger bars in other cities for a while. I want to come up with a custom concept… a hook – from the music to the overall look of the place. And yes, we will have at least one veggie burger on the menu. I’m hoping for 20 taps, and a wine list that will pair well with the burgers. Don’t be surprised if it’s a bit more rock’n roll (think Pixies-driven)… something that will fit perfectly with the rest of Allen Street.”


Next, Mike has acquired a building behind the Quaker Bonnet – an old carriage house with mansard roof, where he is intent on possibly opening a micro brewery… or a coffee roaster… once again a unique concept that will fit in with the rest of his business plans and the overall dynamic of the street. At this point he is entertaining various concepts, although it sounds as if the business will entail some sort of production for consumption.


The third building that Mike picked up is a beautiful house to the West of Quaker Bonnet, which currently houses a yoga studio. Plans for that building entail maintaining its current commercial and residential rentals – The Massage Studio has just renewed its lease.


Finally, and most exciting in my mind, is Mike’s acquisition of the historic meeting house to the East of Quaker Bonnet – a building that has been crying out to become a public space for years. Down the road Mike will be looking to open this as an establishment with its own unique identity, though Mike tells me that any idea that he has today could change tomorrow. Right now he has to concentrate on the burger bar and the carriage house, but some day the historic meeting house will be another unique concept that will mesh with the rest of the businesses in Allentown.


Rarely have we seen a set of purchases by a single entrepreneur that allows for such a promising vision to unfold. With a track record of Coles, The Blue Monk and The Liberty Hound, Mike is once again setting out to elevate an industry that is becoming more competitive each year.


Written by queenseyes


Newell Nussbaumer is 'queenseyes' - Eyes of the Queen City and Founder of Buffalo Rising. Co-founder Elmwood Avenue Festival of the Arts. Co-founder Powder Keg Festival that built the world's largest ice maze (Guinness Book of World Records). Instigator behind Emerald Beach at the Erie Basin Marina. Co-created Flurrious! winter festival. Co-creator of Rusty Chain Beer. Instigator behind Saturday Artisan Market (SAM) at Canalside. Founder of The Peddler retro and vintage market. Instigator behind Liberty Hound @ Canalside. Throws The Witches Ball at The Hotel @ The Lafayette, and the Madd Tiki Winter Luau. Other projects: Navigetter.

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  • LouisTully

    Kick ass, take names.

  • buffalorr

    All good to hear, especially Mr. Shatzel’s vision of keeping the “Allen feel of things”. Somewhat of a fluid situation since that feel does morph into a different form every few years from the Bohemian era of the ’50s, the flower child mecca of the ’60s, antiques center during the ’70’s -’80’s to it’s current incarnation.
    To Mike Shatzel, my dining companion ( who knows your father ) and I have a small request to make that we both think would improve patrons experiences at Coles, Please bring back the large wine glasses that allow it to breathe and quit using the dinky ones it’s served in now. Also, the crab cakes that Coles was famous for among many are no longer on the menu. Every time we ask our server what happened to them they don’t have an answer but say they’ll find out.
    Hopefully you’ve heard this question from them as well as the suggestion on the wine glasses.
    Best of luck to you!

  • Fantastic!

  • JayDBuffalo

    Now if that idiotic owner of Drool would just sell, this would be a great little block!

  • LouisTully

    JayDBuffalo  Yes!  Great outdoor space there, too.  Could you imagine this string here on a beautiful summer night: Loco, Drool, Shatzel’s burger joint?!
    And how ’bout Alley Cat! Wait… what?

  • Stateofmind

    It would be really nice to see the Quaker establishment take on a more zen, calmer approach (than, say, the rest of the scene on Allen). This would pay homage to the site.

  • Stateofmind

    Quaker Tea House?

  • ExWNYer

    Awesome- with Mike involved, this will be a success.

  • BillybobN

    YES. A Burger joint!!

  • Buffalow

    Any word on whether Shatzel also acquired the empty lot on the corner of Park and Allen? Please please please open a biergarten there!

  • i have high hopes for the former quaker meeting house.  i got to step inside once and it is chopped up into apartments in a particularly cheap & yucky way.  i suggest searching for period visuals of quaker meeting house interiors to guide how you rethink the space.  not that you need to replicate a house of worship, only that you use genuine, plain and honest materials and finishes, like quakers from the 1870s would have used. please avoid the temptation to decorate with things like halogen lights, synthetic laminates, or stainless steel.

    oh, and i love the beer garden idea.

  • saltecks

    Too bad the Quaker Bonnet is closing.  It was a fine little restaurant with  wholesome, home style food and IMHO the best breakfast sandwiches  around. Overstuffed on a warm freshly baked roll. Will be missed.

  • GotAnyChange

    In other words, avoid ‘home depot suburban chic.’

  • laldm109

    Please keep allowing the Buffalo CarShare car to park behind the Meeting House building. That’s all I ask.

  • GotAnyChange

    Did someone say beautiful summer night!?!

  • LouisTully

    saltecks  I only ate there once in part because they had weird hours.  But it was fantastic the one time I did make it in.  I haven’t had their sandwich but my vote for best breakfast sandwich goes to S7’s Grant Slam.  Delicious.

  • SaveUsFrom

    The track record of the liberty hound?  Your kidding right?  Thats the place squeezed into the naval park where no restaurant belongs. The public sidewalk along the water was turned into their private patio.  Good luck getting to the  naval parks elevator [put there for people in wheelchairs], its no longer accessible.  Take a look at the sidewalk, its stained with grease/oil from the restaurant.  But then who cares, those expensive stone pavers are already a couple years old and we all payed for them. The metal storage container, placed out front [because the ill conceived restaurant is in a space too small] is a nice touch, and so historic – NOT.  Delivery trucks blocking sidewalks [one of them hit the new building last year and the damage is still not fixed], cars illegally parked on cobblestones and all over the sidewalk, employees chain smoking out front of the exhibits [look for the butts], etc, etc. Believe me, i could go on. The bottom line is no restaurant should have [as an after thought] been shoehorned into this space. So, keep up the cheerleading and beer drinking, but please know, those of us who value public access to OUR waterfront are greatly disillusioned. Cheers.

  • ImissBuffalo

    I have the perfect and best idea for the “DROOL” building. I currently live in NYC and have an amazing idea for this spot. I have made up a rendering of the location, as well as a mock menu. This is, I have no money, only and idea… where do I go to try to get investors that wouldnt just steal my idea. Any help out there? 
    -From a desperate man from buffalo, dying to move back home and bring his experiences to help build our incredible city

  • North Park

    SaveUsFrom  I’ve enjoyed it when I’ve gone there.  He didn’t design the building, just bid to open the restaurant when they put it out for bid.

  • ajthomas24

    SaveUsFrom  I thought the whole reason Liberty Hound opened in the Naval Museum was because the Museum wasn’t making any money, read; not enough people were visiting it. So, Liberty hound goes in, draws more people to the water front, makes money, pays rent to the Naval museum so taxpayers don’t have to, and you think that’s a bad thing? Um, okay.

  • ajthomas24 SaveUsFrom 
    sounds like a good idea, badly executed. perhaps the cafe was not built into the plans from the start.

  • HP MegaVeg

    grad94 ajthomas24 SaveUsFrom  The restaurant was always part of the design for the building.

  • Sabres00

    Sounds like he may model the burger joint after Kuma’s in Chicago, which would be awesome.

  • Cam33r4

    Fantastic!  Good luck with your endeavors, Mike!

  • Cam33r4

    JayDBuffalo  I had a dream that Cantina expanded into there.  They could really use a few extra tables….

  • KristenBecker

    stellar move. way to pull the trigger on this one!

  • BeardedBuffalonian

    Awesome projects. As Buffaloniams we need to keep supporting these establishments not only with out kind remarks, but with our frequent stops and with our continued business.

  • SandyHertel

    Cam33r4 with all due respect to Cantina, the windows in that place could sure use a bit of liveliness. Between the painted black frame and the upside-down stools on the tables, it doesn’t look the slightest bit inviting in daylight hours.

  • SandyHertel

    Stateofmind  You took the words right out of my head!  There’s a place in Montréal (or, was it Quebec City?) that did desserts and teas.  It was the type of place you’d go to after dinner elsewhere, for the charm and yumminess of it.  Nice tablecloths, pretty china, lovely cakes, tarts, pastries — and teas.  It was exactly what popped into my head for the Meeting House.

  • SandyHertel

    ImissBuffalo  contact Newell.  If he can help you connect w/ the current owner, he’ll know someone that can.  Or, your concept might make for a good “what if” post on BRO.

  • DowntownRising

    Sabres00  I was thinking the same thing. That place is awesome.

  • OLdBfloMoney

    Really love a good burger joint in Allentown.    So I am really excited!  I am also a member of car share and use the vehicle behind this building.  Is it still going to be there?

  • Lake Effect

    @SaveUsFrom Really?? When the space was first put out for bid, most people pictured another Hatch Restaurant. Instead, the first entrepreneur who took at what was at the time considered a big risk, opened a restaurant at CanalSide inside a museum and turned it into a huge success. Not to mention taking on the liability of the seasonal slump in business the location has to endure. It is sad that you choose to then slam the owner because you don’t like his patrons. I guess you liked CanalSide better before the crowds and you had the space all to yourself. Public places are more enjoyable when you share and are more tolerant of others.

  • buffalorr

    Lake Effect–“another Hatch restaurant”–The Hatch was ok for a 1970’s type of place in which to eat and I liked how kids were getting experience in what looked like might be their first jobs. I’m glad that Acqua has now been given the contract to operate the Hatch since the harbor has become so popular. Hopefully the city will now put some money into renovating the interior of the Hatch. The plastic chairs and laminate tables make it completely dated and obsolete looking. You feel like you’re sitting in a school cafeteria.

  • Vandra

    I liked Quaker, but it had an oddly quiet presence.  I think a quirky retro neon sign simply saying EAT on the side would have brought more attention.  Looking forward to burgers and beer.

  • brownteeth

    buffalorr The city is spending over a million bucks to renovate the Hatch, but I wouldn’t expect anything better than what it is now.

  • buffalorr

    brownteeth–I have “that sinking feeling” you’re probably right. They’ve spent about $650,000 on the new ice cream stand, which is fine if it looks as though it was money well spent but I’m not holding my breathe. I think we’ll get a good idea of where they’re going with The Hatch once we see the new stand.

  • HWA

    Vandra  But make sure they know to turn it on/off at the appropriate times. Quaker Bonnet was notorious for leaving their “OPEN” neon sign on all night. Loved going to the Towne and seeing all the lights off at QB except for the OPEN sign in the front window.

  • JayDBuffalo

    HWA Vandra 
    Yeah Quaker Bonnet had horrible hours.  I dont think I ever saw it actually open.

  • greenca

    JayDBuffalo HWA Vandra  
    I’m glad I wasn’t the only person confused.  I’ve also never seen the place open.

  • LouisTully

    greenca JayDBuffalo HWA Vandra  They’ve been open.  Not sure if it was at all regular, or if it met the posted hours.  I think it was mostly open in the mornings, maybe closed weekends?
    If you caught the Buff News article on this sale the owner was 70 so that might’ve been a reason.  Not to say she didn’t care – the place was well-kept and, like I said, the one time I did go there I thought it was great.  Just that might’ve been why everyone thought it was never open.

  • SaveUsFrom

    Lake Effect  Wow you sure do jump to conclusions. Next time address points i made in my post, not wherever it is your mind takes you.  I don’t have time for a back and forth with you and others who choose to blindly cheer development for the sake of development.  That said, please do not put words in my mouth.

  • SaveUsFrom

    ajthomas24 SaveUsFrom  Not what i said at all.  Try again oh defensive one.

  • SaveMyCity

    Im all for it as long as he doesn’t model it after any of his previous restaurants. We need culinary diversity in this city, not cookie cutter menus and clientele. But the city will probably continue their fondness for monopolization…….

  • fuhrfull

    How about a solution to parking in that area.  It is almost impossible to find a spot without looking forever.  They should actully close off Allen between Franklin and Wadsworth at night in the summer months to traffic.  I think it would be a great party atmosphere like Bourbon street in New Orleans.  I know, where are we suppose to park!!!

  • justannotherone

    Do what people do now.  Take up all the parking in the neighborhoods so that actual residents have no where to park.  When there is a large event just park on both sides of the street so that it gets so congested that emergency vehicles can’t get through.  Don’t worry police won’t ticket, I think they have orders not to.  And iif all else fails it is ok to block a homeowners driveway.  But beware 3 times this year in our neighborhood people have come back to find their car towed.  At least in this neighborhood we are finished with inconsiderate visitors.

  • DylanBurns

    justannotherone fuhrfull  Do you live on Arlington, perhaps?  You just described that perfectly.